I know what you are thinking: this is the absolute worst day of your life.
Whether you studied for hours on end and still ended up getting a C-minus on that test, your formal date ditched you as soon as you got to the venue, or you totally face-planted getting off the bus in the rain, there is no way any good could come out of the situation, right?
Well, rest assured, you are not alone, and you will make it through all the embarrassment.
Here are five reasons why you should choose to be positive, no matter what.
We have all been there: those days when nothing seems to be going your way and everything seems to be falling apart. Chances are, you have had this type of day before, and guess what? You made it! You have been through this once (or maybe multiple times), and you can do it again. Things may seem terrible, but the reality is, in 20 years you won’t remember this day, so keep your head up and keep going!
Just trust me on this one. Even when everything is going wrong, if you are determined to have a positive outlook you will feel so much better. So go ahead, eat that Ben and Jerry’s, or binge watch Grey’s Anatomy. You earned it! After a hectic day taking time to do things you enjoy will leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
So, today was absolutely terrible. It is okay to be bummed out for a little while, as long as you realize the situation for what it is, a single event out of your whole life. You are young and I am here to tell you that, for what it’s worth, this won’t even matter in the grand scheme of things. You will have plenty more embarrassing and terrible days, but as long as you remember to keep your chin up, I promise you will be ready to take on whatever crazy curveballs life throws your way.
Okay, I am not saying you don’t have to eat your vegetables, or make that dreaded trek to the gym, but studies show people who think positively have lower stress levels, lower blood pressure, and get sick less often. So do something good for yourself and your health by not sweating over the small stuff.
Think about it — if today is the absolute worst day of your life then, by default, tomorrow has to be better. And, hey, that’s a positive thought in and of itself. So no matter how bad things seem, remember that tomorrow is always a new day. There you have it! Now you are equipped with the knowledge to go and take on the world.
So channel your inner Beyoncé, jam out to your favorite music, or pet a small animal. Do anything and everything you can to make today the absolute best it can be. You deserve it!
Jackie is also part of a phenomenal organization all AIESEC. In conjunction with our partnership with their organization, please see their blog here:
More college students are traveling and volunteering abroad than ever before.
I have volunteered with multiple organizations in multiple countries, seeking a combination of work and travel experience. My desire to see the world and work abroad is by no way unique; my generation, more than any previously, is interested in supporting initiatives that “better the world.”
We are concerned with increasing the welfare of people globally, invested in philanthropic societies and ideals. However, while we are avid supporters of good causes, we hardly ever criticize the programs and organizations that serve them. In an era when we are so focused on development and volunteerism, it is important that we look at the ideologies that are driving certain programs, and the program’s unintended results.
The generally held belief is that money invested in impoverished women is more likely to be invested back into the family, as women are “instinctively maternal” and will want to improve their family’s well-being.
Sounds good right? These programs seem to be empowering women, and directly focus on families in need of additional income. However, if we investigate the ideologies and theories driving these programs, there are serious weaknesses in the way in which development has been conceptualized and implemented. Maternal altruism is one of the persisting limitations with development ideology and practice particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Maternal altruism, as defined by Richard Schroeder, is the “ideology that stipulates that women are, by virtue of their identities as mothers and wives, ‘naturally’ predisposed toward nurturing and self-sacrifice,” (Schroeder, 9).
Maternal altruism is the driving force behind many women-centered development programs.
The inherent assumption of maternal altruism is that women’s own aspirations are heroically neglected in order to prioritize the needs of their family members.
Further, by characterizing women as a homogeneous group defined by selflessness, “maternal altruism” also erases class, race, or any kind of individuality that may influence women’s motivations to take care of family members or perform traditional work. It is an ideology that encourages the ascription of sameness. The elimination of diversity of body and belief amongst women in developing nations makes all hundreds of millions of them a single uniform group.
Does she have something balancing on her head? A baby strapped to her back? Is she standing in a field? Holding a bucket of water? All of these images portray a woman defined by maternal altruism. These are the only pictures we see of “African women” in development campaigns. I do not believe these pictures are staged; women do fetch water, they do take care of children, and they do preform agricultural work.
My problem with these images is that development organizations and the public are taking them at face value. No one is asking why. Why are you preforming the agricultural work? Is it really because you only have interest in ensuring that your family has something to eat or is it because it is your ethnic custom? Is it because it is your only source of income?
If it is, would you rather be doing something else? What would that be and what do you need to do it? Many development non-profits invest in women’s agricultural work to better ensure family food stability. While full stomachs are a noble cause, these programs need to be asking if women aspire to do something else.
When I volunteered at Give a Heart To Africa (GHTA) in Moshi, Tanzania last summer, I worked for an organization that focused on women. GHTA’s school aimed to give local women the tools and skills they need to open their own small business. My students had widely different interests; Mariamu wanted to expand her current business, Esther wanted to open a fabric shop, Tausi wanted to be an English translator, and Faraha wanted to be able to read English books to her kids at night.
Each woman had an invested interest in their family, but also had interests of their own. The diversity of aspiration in one small school shatters the notion of maternal altruism. We would never expect women in the US to universally forgo personal interests for those of the family. We would never categorize US mothers as a homogeneous group.
There are bad mothers, ambitious mothers, childless women who do not fit the idyllic category put forth by the ideology. The fact is, there are bad mothers, ambitious mothers, and childless women in developing nations, so why do we hold them to a different standard?
Why do some development organizations throw the blanket of maternal altruism over all of these women? Because we, as non-profit supporters, volunteers, and fundraisers, allow them to. As consumers on the development market, we can use our “purchasing power” by investing in organizations that have well-constructed programs; programs that do not ascribe homogeneity to their recipients, programs that give people the power to make their own choices.
We, as college students, are the largest group ever to be invested in development initiatives. Whether by volunteering, fundraising, or raising awareness we often support the operations of organizations without truly understanding the ramifications behind their actions.
We receive the benefit of feeling good about contributing to “bettering the world,” and walk away before we witness the aftermath, or look too closely at the labels we place on those receiving a program’s benefits. By turning a critical eye to non-profit organizations and their work, we can influence the way in which future programs are constructed.
Broken I come. Empty. My cup is full of tears. Yet you are so faithful to show me where you were in the past years, The years of abuse, the years that the locust came and my life was changed. Numb and broken I stood. I didn’t know where you were. I didn’t understand. Yet you tell me now, that you were with me.
You were holding my hand. You were my strength, you enabled me to stand. You were the sustaining grace that has brought me to stand here today. You are with me and you are faithful. Again I say, YOU ARE WITH ME, and
You are here to stay. You are constant and true, You are healing the broken places- the black and the blue. I was hiding. Hiding from who you are and always have called me to be. Caught up in an endless sea of insecurity. Searching for satisfaction, while knowing you are the only one that satisfies. Not believing the truth but rather lies.
Not seeing myself through your eyes. Seemingly walking on thin ice of others words and judgments, Too often finding myself broken by their words, and not by your Word. Hiding so often from fully being with you, Because I was scared to be held by you. The depth and vastness of your loves is so overwhelming and deep. Often times in your presence I find myself undone as I begin to weep.
So I stay surface level, with others and with you O lord, Yet you know me, you know me through and through. You see my heart, and you long for me to HIDE myself in ONLY you. Surface is comfortable it doesn’t ask much, Or really tell much either. Surface never really gets to the point, it just casually talks around it. Surface is the typical response to, “Hi, how are you?”… “Good, good!”
Lord I confess I cry out, not everything is good, Not everything is okay all the time, Oh, but YOU ARE. You Father, are the bright Morning Star. You break through the darkness and you speak life.
You hold me safely, as my tears fall at night. Father you are good, always faithful. So draw me out of myself, my sin, Set my feet upon you and show me where to begin, Begin walking in security and assurance. To no longer hide but to be hidden. Hidden in who you are and always have called me to be. Caught up in an endless sea of security and mercy. Drowning in endless grace, captivated by you, Eyes locked, looking unto your glorious face.
The Creator and Captivator of my heart. Forever. For your voice is louder and sweeter than any other, Your truth penetrates my heart and it shows me who I am. It reminds me that when I feel like giving up- When I find myself saying, “I can’t…” that Jesus..
“I can, because I am” I am your sufficiency, I am your Healer; I am your Father, I am your Helper, I am for you, I am with you, I am merciful, I am just, I am faithful, I am patient; I am your refuge, I am trustworthy, I am fighting for you, and I am always with you.
He can and he will, so today I pray you feel. Feel his sweet love that conquers all fears. I pray that you see the endless grace he has poured out on your life, over the past years. I pray you feel his comfort in the midst of your pain. And I pray today that things would never be the same. That you would leave His presence radically changed. That you would believe God’s truth, rather than lies. I pray that you would take off your disguise.
It is okay to cry, you can come rest He says, you don’t have to try. Don’t try and hold it all in, bring it to me and let it shatter at my feet, Come into my arms, come and meet. Meet with me, abide with me, look to me, and confide in me. I am safe.
When you dance, I dance along with you. When you cry, I am there crying and comforting you. When you try to hide, I am the one that is your refuge and safe place. When you are scared, I am the one, who takes your hand, And lifts your head with peace and assurance. When you are too weak to fight, I am fighting for you- On your behalf and I will never stop.
When you throw up your hands and want to give up, I am the one that lifts your hands and your eyes. For I am your Helper. When you are frustrated, I whisper, “I understand, tell me more.” And I tell you of my sweet promises. When you are tired and weary, I am your strength. When you have been going and going, I am your resting place. I am here. So come near. When you find yourself full of questions and doubt, I am the answer, I will give you faith. When you are reminded of who you were…
You are mine and you are loved, So loved that I would send my one and only Son, From Heaven above, He lived a sinless life and bore all your sins, He longs for you to come to Him. So freely come. Come and be forgiven and take hold of life. Life, He is life, I pray you all take hold of that tonight. He is restoring the years the locust have stolen. And he is making you whole. Whole, and holy, He is making you more like him.
The Lord is making you new, Yes you He is making you new. HIS steadfast LOVE ENDURES FOREVER, through and through!
“I deserve better —such a dangerous, mad thought for a woman to entertain.”
― Meredith Duran, At Your Pleasure
I deserve better. You deserve better. We deserve better.
The phrase “I deserve better” is still a radical thought for women. We are taught at a young age to be completely selfless. This is a cultural norm for everyone, but the point is stressed further to young girls. We are taught to give constantly without much thought of receiving. This needs to change. We need to fight for selfishness and embrace the idea that we deserve better.
Sometimes it seems like I am the only 21-year-old female without a significant other. Or at least that is the impression I get when friends and family back home say “So, still single or do you have a boyfriend?”
The first thing wrong with this statement is the presumption that I need a guy in my life. I feel that I need to focus on myself right now. I deserve to be selfish and enjoy my life while I’m young and able to seek new opportunities. I deserve to go and excel in my internship this summer and find new opportunities in a potential professional career.
On the other side of the argument, there is nothing wrong with finding that significant other, but the call for selfishness remains. Nobody should settle for less than you deserve. I believe that a basis in faith is important in finding your soul mate. If your boyfriend has different morals or values, don’t compromise what you believe for someone.
Another important aspect for me is family. If a man cannot accept your family, he is not prepared to accept you. Women should demand the same level of respect for people they care about and not cower to other people’s opinions. Settling is a slippery slope that can lead to unhappiness later down the road. My job for all girls is to stand up for what you believe in and refuse to settle for any boy who is not prepared to be a man.
One battle that women constantly fight is equal treatment in the workplace. It is sad that women can still be seen as just the secretaries in business settings. I am in a major and career track that is dominated by women, Public Relations, but still I will make less than any man working the same exact job.
I feel that I need to work even harder to make up for my gender. This is completely ridiculous in modern society. Two women have announced they are running for president. If that does not show the correct way to claim some selfishness I do not know what else can. We should demand the respect we deserve and not just meekly ask for it. I am not condoning being rude or obnoxious toward people in the workplace or in life, I am only pushing women as a whole to fight for what we deserve.
Women need to be selfish for ourselves. As a culture we need to stop creating a cycle of suppression that starts at a young age when little girls take care of the baby doll while the little boys save the world as a super hero.
We owe the next generation to make ourselves into heroines that girls can look up to and say, “I want to be her when I grow up.” A little bit of selfishness can go a long way when it means that we can think for ourselves first. This may be in a potential relationship, a job offer, or an assignment or position in school. So as a whole I want everyone to ask himself or herself a simple question.
Don’t you deserve better?